WSU has released its fall outlook, complete with a "depth chart" and stunning analysis from Paul Wulff featuring such gems as "We have some players that have played college football." (I did not make that up.)
The reason I put depth chart in quotation marks is because when a depth chart is released with A) None of the incoming players listed and B) Your leading returning wide receiver as a third stringer, you have to take these things with a grain of salt. Coaches use these things for all sorts of psychological reasons, and it will obviously change a whole lot between now and Sept. 5.
However, that doesn't mean we can't talk about it. My initial thoughts.
- The Jeshua Anderson thing is stupid -- he clearly, unquestionably is our best pass catcher, and I can't even dream up a scenario where he's not considered one of our top three wide receivers.* Maybe Wulff is trying to reward the guys who were in spring practice while giving Anderson a carrot to chase. But seriously ... who are they fooling? There are a certain number of guys on this team who will be starters barring some kind of training camp injury -- Kenny Alfred, Kevin Kooyman, Andy Mattingly, Chima Nwachukwu, Louis Bland -- and Anderson is one of them. I understand doing this to guys in certain circumstances, but this is just silly. When the offense takes the field against Stanford, Anderson will be on it.
*Unless that hamstring injury from track season is lingering and a bigger problem than we know. Then all bets are off. But there's no notation of an injury with Anderson on the depth chart.
- Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael are listed as "or" starters on the actual two-deep, according to Grippi. (I can't find the actual two-deep anywhere on the WSU site.) It's not hugely surprising, but it's good to see that we hopefully will have a legitimate quarterback competition on our hands this year. My money's still on Lobbestael, but I think he's got to go out and take it from Lopina, who has a pretty big edge in experience from last year and spring drills.
- Anyone else get little butterflies in their stomach when they see Mattingly listed at linebacker again?
- Man, we are scary thin at cornerback. I'd be fairly shocked if Nwachukwu doesn't end up playing there again at some point this year. Those guys are really going to need the defensive line to be a lot better, because they're not going to be able to cover anyone for more than about three seconds.
- Interesting that Eric Block is listed as a second-stringer behind Nwachukwu at free safety. He's really struggled with injuries his first two years on campus, but he was considered a good get out of Bellevue High School when the Cougs signed him. Remember, Jim Harbaugh was after him hard, too. The best case scenario for our secondary just might be a healthy Block that allows Nwachukwu to move back to corner.
- Holy crap do we have a lot of talented linebackers. Here's to hoping one of them can be an adequate replacement for Greg Trent.
- Our backup right defensive end (Casey Hamlett, 6-2/239) transferred from Western Washington University after the Vikings cut their program last year. Again, I am not making this up. My guess is that his name will be replaced with the name "Travis Long" by the end of camp.
Here are some other miscellaneous football links to keep you busy today, since the best way to beat the heat if you're in Seattle is to sit at a computer in a hot house:
- Kooyman has posted his final diary for Cougfan.com, featuring this little nugget: "I can realistically see our team making it to a bowl game." Ah, the optimism of July.
- Alfred also has his fourth diary for Cougfan.com. Honestly, his have been fun to read. I know there is editing that goes into these things, but he genuinely seems like an interesting, articulate guy.
- Jim Sterk and Wulff will once again be participating in those riveting Cougar Chats. Woooo.
- Single game tickets go on sale on Saturday. Don't everyone log on at once -- we wouldn't want to crash the server clamoring for SMU tickets.
The 2008 WSU football team was ranked the second worst of the decade by esteemed Pac-10 writer Jon Wilner. Guess who's worst? :-)
We'll finish off with a couple of "for-the-record" items. First, the felony burglary charges were dropped against Tyree Toomer and LeAndre Daniels. As we suspected, this seems like a misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion by an overzealous criminal justice system. It's old news, but we wanted to make sure we note it. Toomer especially is going to be counted on to contribute. Also, Romeo Pellum took some shots at the coaching staff on his way out of town. Whatever.